As I read this weekend of the demonstrations in Myanmar with excitement and worry. I recalled Nov. 9, 1989. A German expat acquaintance told me it would happen, about 3 weeks before. I thought "Dream on, Karl." Then came the images of the Wall falling. I met a Romanian who was in the crowd at the very first uprising against the police. "We were just ordinary people in the square after church", he told me. "We went home and took whatever was at hand."
A recent road trip to impenetrable forests of northern New Hampshire and high peaks of Adirondacks. The Canadian plates announced our visitor status and evoked earnest, heartfelt witnessing from many Americans: they do not want the country to be in Iraq. If they ever did, they don't now. Their pain was keen, anger plain and substantial as the granite rock cuts. At least three times someone walked up to me and just delivered their piece without introduction or preamble.
In Montreal, before crossing the border, an 81 year old dinner companion said, tell me, these people are smart. Why do they put up with this war? Why is there no protest?
If I revealed that I'm an American who left during Vietnam, choking with rage, grieving for too many boys, they'd clam up.
I thought of my father, who said in the mid 70's. "When the mothers who lost their sons are too old to make noise, they'll do it all over again."